Sunday, August 19, 2012



Watch the shadows now sprinkled across the green lawn
By the afternoon sun sitting down -
Does the sun claim a chair near the waning of day
There to toss soft reflections around?
There's no hurry to scatter or rush to display
The gentle array of the hour
And the evening that laces it's fingers with day
Lingers on, closing beauty to show'r.

What a wonder to watch twilight spread like a cloak
Shielding vision e'er light becomes dim;
E'er the parting of season marks calendar streams
Swiftly flowing t'ward summer's near brim.
Deep the dimness 'neath fringes of woodland's fair trees,
Setting scenes where the fairies of youth
Were imagined through fancy - now caught in the fray
Of illusion met squarely with truth.

Yet in sunsets of August, magic lingers once more
And with pixie dust alters our dreams
Drawing charming sensations as the day slides away
With the music from meadows and streams.
Dancing elves leave soft footprints in the dew as the mist
Gently settles across hill and dale,
Then the shade becomes darkness, and the merriment drifts
Where the moonlight continues the tale.

pjt 7/26/2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Summer greens are everywhere around here - thanks to rains and heavy dew. The days have been so humid (typical WV July) that even I am thankful for air conditioning.

Maggie days have transformed into canning days. Every year I think next summer we'll just grow enough garden for the table and for sharing. And every year we check the canning shelves and decide we could always do with a few more quarts of this or that. This summer it's green beans. We did the first two canners yesterday - Roma II, which have become a favorite for lots of reasons. No strings, good flavor and good canners even when they've grown on the vine past peak.

This year Wayne also planted some pole beans and half-runners...just for old times sake. The sapling teepees cut and covered with bean vines used to be a familiar sight on gardens that grew on any lot of any size. These days we don't see so many gardens. Tha't a loss on several levels.

Wayne's 'old-times sake' backs me into the kitchen, but he is so good to help that I could hardly be so mean as to complain. Assuredly kitchen assistance is not quite fair as he does the planting, tilling, tending and picking. But hey, we all know he's addicted to work, right? And did you notice those rocks? We think they come up from China, as they seem to surface no matter how many you gather and haul to the creek banks. 

I'm not immue to the call of tradition myself ...though my call usually takes the form of quilts not canning. Call or no, I know not to plan too much sewing during garden times. Garden times are so much a part of "what we knew first" that it is hard to give it up, especially for Wayne. That is evident in spite of the fact that I no longer do a stitch of work there - except for taking the farmer a drink of water from time to time.

Without living in the past, we are still bound to memories of it. That is a blessing and I'm really thankful the Lord designed our minds with memory banks.

Passages once traveled will seldom reappear -
Stronger, then, incentive for holding them as dear.
Some are set indelibly and easily revived;
Others blend in patterns indistinct, but still alive.

Scenes of fond remembrance seem to etch on glass
Lines to lend fresh import to portraits of the past -
Ne'er to be forgotten, or lessen in their worth
E'en when tethered well beyond the reach of mortal earth.

Who can weigh the value e'er they travel on
Of ethereal summers basking 'neath the sun?
Once the snow has melted, magic glows no more...
Scales will find a balance true on far more distant shores.

Is the heart ungrateful - just redeeming time,
Scarcely comprehending the reason or the rhyme?
Who can know the pattern, gather up control;
Weaving through the tapestry the threads that form the whole?

Time may not uncover hidden meanings of
The raptures of a moment, the painful loss of love...
Soaring hearts, descending tears alike must understand
The soul will win its vict'ry by His near, Almighty Hand.

Patience molds the passage with resolve to hold
Faith for the duration, nurture for the soul -
Pausing and reflecting while memories yet yearn...
For hard it is to turn them free and not wish for return.
 pjt 07/04/2012

Friday, July 13, 2012


There's been a lot of that going around in WV. The story of the big storm of June 29 is out-dated by now, but still noteworthy. We had little rain but terrific winds. Some places in the state reported 79 mph winds. It sounded like the proverbial freight train coming along the ridge. Terrific wind damage all over the state brought electric power to a halt. The only physical damage at Teelside was a large oak limb that fell on the shed and tore up some of the roof, which was promptly cut away with chain saw by my handy-dandy Wayne Bunyon.  The woods behind us look like a war zone - limbs and trees down all over the place. Looks like some more firewood will be down for the taking in the future.

Our power outage lasted 12 days. Wayne 'babied' the generator night and day all that time. So we lost no food stuffs. Between generator duties and unusually high temperatures he wasn't getting much sleep and not being able to do any computer work was also quite frustrating for him. On the other hand, I made it an opportunity to loaf i.e., read, write, crochet and read some more. For me it seemed a not so unpleasant break in routine, but readily admit I was very glad to be able to do laundry when the power returned.

Early morning balcony time brought these lines.....


God be praised for morning's dawning,
Birds that warble, mist that cloaks
Yonder ridges with their wonder -
Shifting, subtle, feath'ry strokes;
Cotton candy of the summer
Icing mighty limbs of oak.

July days alight with beauty
Stretching as they yawn awake,
Reaching out in search of heartstrings,
New acquaintances to make;
Every dawn an unclaimed palette
Fresh and clean -- with no mistakes.

What a blessing, what a privilege
That we see God's precious plan:
Time each morn for new beginnings,
Light to guide the path of man,
Ours to take in daily measure,
His to give -- oh, praise His name!

pjt 07/09/2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012



It's that time of year again...the first Saturday of July is soon approaching. That calendar date always marks the Miller Family Reunion. We anticipate joining sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins more than slated activities. But the goings-on are always very interesting - to say the least.

We gather at a community building in Flatwoods WV, which is as close as we can get to a center point for homes that are spread all over the country. As we file in the tables start filling up. One or two for auction items, one for show 'n tell and at least four/five for food and drinks. That ratio seems to work for us.The rest of the cafeteria type tables serve us well for all the conversation that goes along with all the eating.

There are two focal points of entertainment - the auction and our very own country/bluegrass players. To tell the truth, I enjoy the latter more than the former; mostly because seeing/hearing cousins who meet but once a year playing together has to be special. But the auction often features family heirlooms for scrutiny and not a little friendly competition in the bids. After all the food and frolic, our visit usually closes out with a bit of hymn singing. A Miller reunion would be incomplete without that!

In keeping with a long-standing habit of taking something I've crafted for the auction, the quilted travel/cosmetic pictured above are this year's contribution. Along with a couple locker-hooked hot pads. Talk about contrast. As for locker hooking, I find it difficult to hook and wrap the outer edges as instructed, so the border on the pink one is experimentally crocheted with matching yarn. That's still the hardest part of a craft I really enjoy, but the crochet is much easier on my fingers. Have also discovered if I fold a bit more of the mesh under, line up the squares and steam press it the borders will stay 'steam glued' in place - stiff but simpler to hook. As for the yarn and washing? Guess we'll find out how that works later.

While in travel bag mode I went ahead and made four total. They got easier as I went along. It would have been a better idea to assembly line the processes, but that was not practical in this case because each bag needed a different color thread. It taxed me quite enough to switch the even-feed, zipper and satin-stitch presser feet, without the bother of changing thread and bobbin at the same time. With this much practice, though, perhaps the pattern will seem a bit less confusing the next time it's used. That's me, an eternal optomist. For now the extra bags will be stashed in the quilt vault until a token gift is needed.

With all this rambling it would seem I risk breaking the hard & fast rule of Teeldom bannishing boredom. For appearances sake, we'll just say my mind is mindless, taking a wee ramble - boring, perhaps,...but I am not bored. That's my story........

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


There was a day that I thoroughly disliked that task. But these days, it is an enjoyable process almost always. Who could disdain standing before the window watching rabbits scamper and birds feed in the summertime? Or not take pleasure in seeing woodsheds that are full and brimming over as a backdrop to thickly falling snow?

Life speeds by through the kitchen window of the Barn. It would be a shame to spoil this process with an automatic dishwasher; besides I am the automatic dishwasher.

Another chore I used to dread was laundry. No more. I may continue to wonder how long I'll be (reasonably) stable walking the outdoor stairways down to the lower floor where the washer and dryer live; or what stored item or tool might reach out to grab me as I enter; and I will definitely keep my eyes open for snakes visiting close by the outdoor stoop as I go to and fro, as I've met them along that path before. But as long as I can complete the process of sort/wash/dry/fold/hang/put-away before noon, I remain a very happy Teelside camper. all began with a wringer washer and no automatic dryer. How well I remember those frigid winter winds of Pennsylvania that froze diapers and work uniforms stiff as boards. But who among us doesn't love folding baby clothes? Dealing with work clothes...not so much.

Of course, the common perpetrator in the demise of housekeeping pleasure is increasing task loads that automatically grow with a growing family. O.K., O.K. There is that likely degree of procrastination in the mix. Dishes and laundry can stack up pretty quickly. My mother had it right - take care of it as you go along. Or enter Not that I am faithful to FlyLady - but I do check in with her lanch pad every so often just for entertainment. And that entertainment has generated a few good habits - like a clean sink at bedtime (most of the time), for instance.

Rambing done. On now to making a bit of bread pudding with bread that procrastinated until it became stale. And then to cleanup of the mess I'll make, remembering that Grandma Oe would say one needs "to rid up the dishes."

Thursday, June 14, 2012


A Place for Serenity

Life can be hectic, busy, rushed ... sometimes overwhelming. Whew! An ounce of rest and a pound of serenity sets all to rights again. And then there are the times when those hectic, rushed and busy days are found to be totally refreshing. This often happens with occasions of simple hospitality.

There is always heightened anticipation in plans to meet new faces and share time with other Christians. Common bonds, mutual friends - from all over the globe - and collective goals sweeten the pot of preparation immensely. The little added tasks of cleaning, cooking and arranging schedules beforehand mix with  pleasant expectancy of time to be shared in the company of good people.  We had just such an experience with our weekend visitors.

The Gentry family came to us by way of Tennessee, Indiana and Moldova. They didn't plan to be back in the states on furlough quite so soon as three months after starting a work in Moldova, but the wheels of foreign legalities grind very slowly and their visa ran out prematurely. Their loss is our gain.

Furlough my eye ... the three month interim required before returning to Moldova has been for them a whirlwind of travel, testimony and teaching. It is no small thing to pack and drag a family of five all over the place, but they are young and so very dedicated to the Lord's service and the spreading of His gospel that they seem to scarcely notice the inconveniences. And so it is they arrived at Teelside for a three-day work-hard and sleepover.

Most often we think of hospitality as being a way to bestow honor on our visitors, and rightly so. But there is another, I think equal if not surpassing, honor in hospitality. That is the privilege that is held in showing hospitality for others. This is especially true when guests are as agreeable as the Gentry family.

We will warmly recall the children's cheerful occupancy. So courteous, so grateful for any little attention. (I know some parents that have done an amazing job of teaching grace and manners.) And their sweet parents were equal joy to have around. When guests are thankful and show themselves adaptable to any and all circumstances ... including eating cereal, hot dogs and sandwiches, sleeping on the floor and sharing a single bathroom for the duration ... their hosts cannot help but feel honored to have them.

What good times. Not surprisingly, the members of God's family at Clendenin were refreshed and encouraged by both the presence of and interaction with the Gentry family. It does strengthen our faith, hope and joy to meet other Christians and hear reports of the fruit of the gospel thriving in distant lands.

When the time came, we sent them on their way (somewhat reluctantly) with newfound love in our hearts and prayerful petitions for God's richest blessings throughout their pilgrim journey. We trust as well that every minute of our hospitality was spent in honor of the Lord that made such sweet communion possible.

Monday, May 28, 2012


Just last week I was roaming Teelside camera in hand looking for lingering signs of spring. Changing seasons always call out to be recorded. And for good reason: no two sets of seasonal photos are the same...similar, but not the same. Flowers take turns; one year the daffodils and iris excel, the next year the peonies outshine them all. Trees and shrubs also change from year to year. Like children they stretch out and mark their own place with larger shadows.

Without question, the best part of Spring in every passing  is the birdsong of morning. My head  rarely lingers upon the pillow beyond dawn, so addicted am I to the sound of it. It is a long-lived tether; a link from early childhood when I woke in my grandparent's farmhouse to birds that seemed to be singing through megaphones. The joy returns as clear reflections of those long ago mornings wash over me with each new morn sixty years hence. God is good.

Back to the photo journal...all at once the camera lens caught more shades of summer than spring. Everything was summer green with only faint illusion to the tender tones of April. May slips away quite quickly when temperatures soar and humidity hangs over the meadow. I sigh and say goodbye to another budding season. 

It is NOT imagination that marks the flying calendar gathering speed with age. It's happening. I've noted as well that the green, green hills of summer are observed with more acute awareness, distinct definition. Awareness is a blessing - God is good.

Visiting time after yesterday's church services took us to shut-ins - a gentleman suffering at home with advanced cancer, a sweet little bird of a lady 'trapped' in a rehab center with a broken hip. These dear folks are by circumstance deprived of birdsong, sunlight and blossoms beckoning in gentle breezes. Perhaps their hearts store pictures of like beauty and they are comforted by their remembrance even among the vicissitudes of life. I do hope so. Along with that, may our brief presence reflect a refreshing breath of loving Son-light for their keeping.

Thursday, May 24, 2012



A nearly perfect day in May--
A canopy of powder blue,
Fresh-grown greens of every hue,
Fragrant blossoms by the way,
Warbling birds on fence and trees,
And rippling streams heard o'er the lea
Hold happy hands and whisper "stay."

"Remain here with us, let the sun
Contentment, joy and peace begin."
They seek us out; they draw us in.
The circling arc of work begun
With April buds and gentle rain,
Brings hope for Life - refreshed again 
In kinship with the Risen Son

Immersed in beauty so serene;
Touched by the grace of Holy Hands,
A soul will soar to distant lands;
A glimpse of Heaven may be seen;
A heart will find its way and throng
With saints before the Son-lit throne,
To sing His praise with the redeemed.

No perfect day will mortals gain
E'en in the beauty that surrounds
These seamless times of wonder found
When seasons change. Yet there remains
God's perfect day, perfect design
When joy eternal will ascend
In perfect life that never ends.


Tuesday, May 08, 2012


Sometime back I thought I might put all of Isobel's gifts on the table, take a picture, and write about how caring and generous she is. Ran into a real dilemma. The more I gathered, the more I found that belonged to that category. And even that sturdy oak table Daddy made wouldn't hold them all.

This, of course, does not mean I've stopped thinking about Isobel's gifts (too many reminders around for that). But inventory is impossible. It's like trying to list friends and knowing you'll leave some out no matter how diligent you are. I'm left with scratching the surface. So be it.

For this purpose, suppose I should stick to functional items (but it would be remiss of me not to mention the boxes of lemon pie mix that are often tucked into the parcels for Wayne).  Many of Isobel's presents are sewing tools. I suspect that when she finds a new gadget - and Isobel does like gadgets - she buys in triplicate: one for herself and one each for the twins. She has added sundry rulers and rotary cutters, quilt calculators and color wheels, frequent packs of fabric, and a nice pair of Gingher appliqué scissors to my little sewing corner - just to name a few.  

The granddaddy of all sewing tools is a Bernina Serger she brought my way when she found a newer model for herself.  That machine (besides driving me bonkers sometimes when it needs re-threading) has been such a boon and blessing. It has made pjs , nightgowns, aprons, jumpers and skirts galore - mostly for grandchildren who are beyond grateful. I hope she knows she has facilitated my happiness in the making as well as theirs.

Since I have dubbed my sewing machine and computer MAGGIE and MOLLY, it occurs to me that the serger needs a name, too. Think I'll call her ISIE (Isobel's childhood nickname). Guess that also means ISIE becomes the grandmommy of all sewing tools.

And now this...can you figure it out? The pin cushion is obvious. And it obviously belongs beside a sewing machine. What is less evident in the photo are especially convenient features. The pin cushion is weighted with some kind of heavy base so that it will not fall off the table or go creeping away from you when you try to poke it with a pin. The bag that hangs over the edge is held open with a stout metal ring sewn in the top; and it is lined with satin so that threads and scraps that are handily dropped in slide out easily when it needs emptying. Isobel doesn't do ugly so the colors and embroidered design on the front are very nice, too.

Now isn't my generous, thoughtful sister so very clever? I appreciate you Isobel, and love you so very dearly!

Saturday, May 05, 2012


Big celebrations in Temple Terrace last night. Two grandchildren (Luke and Sarah Jane - with baby Joshua tagging along 'baby bump' style) walked for Bachelor's degrees; another granddaughter (Hannah) walked for an Associate degree at the Florida College graduation ceremonies. I think it a very special thing for cousins to do together.

DS Doy marked the occasion by posting pictures of the 4-yr 'bricks' laid down as a record for his wife, son and son's wife. I don't know the story of the commemorative bricks, but imagine them to be laid down somewhere on the F.C. campus. Not knowing the details did not keep me from getting a big lump in my throat as I looked at (and lifted) the pictures from Doy's Facebook page.

Sarah Jane's comments on this occasion were: "Graduation! How bittersweet. I wouldn't trade these past four years for anything. The amount of growth and knowledge I have obtained is priceless. Thank you, F.C., for everything. Especially my husband :) I also believe I owe my firstborn to you ;)"

I'm guessing she's giving credit for her firstborn to Luke, not F.C., but you never know. (There is that running joke about kids going to F.C. to get a husband/wife...and it worked well for our girls Laurie/Nina.) Guess Sarah Jane could give F.C. the credit for meeting Luke. However it is sliced, baby Joshua will always tie into college memories.

As to Hannah's response to all the fuss, she wrote: "First year at F.C. is over and I got an itchy blue robe, an empty red case, and a "gold" cord to prove it. Happy Graduation everybody!"

Audrey was packing up the dorm room she and Hannah shared this year and wrote with a touch of wistfulness: "Just took all my happy mail off my walls. There was a lot. I am so blessed. :) As for goodbyes... not really my thing."

My own reaction brought to mind one of those David/Beccie stories stored in memory. When Jonathan and Hannah were baptized (on my birthday) several years back, Beccie asked David, "What did we ever do to deserve these children...?"   Such milestones are both awesome and humbling. And like Audrey, "I am so blessed."